Travel-Photography Monsters: Samsung Unveils New Galaxy S10, Fold Phones

Feb 20, 2019

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As expected, on Wednesday, Samsung introduced a suite of new traveler-friendly smartphones. One, the Galaxy Fold, costs $1,980. Yes — just 20 bucks short of a cool two grand. That is one bold move.

But before I dig into the Fold, I’m going to focus on what’s sure to be Samsung’s more popular option: the Galaxy S10. Just as with Apple’s current iPhone X lineup, Samsung’s offering three models: the 6.1-inch S10 ($899), the 6.4-inch S10 Plus ($999) and the 5.8-inch S10E ($749), plus a special 6.7-inch “5G” version, to be released later in the year.

The S10E is designed to be Samsung’s “budget” flagship, but it still offers a sharp AMOLED display, two rear-facing cameras, a 3,100mAh battery, a speedy Snapdragon 855 processor, and at least 6GB of RAM and 128GB of expandable storage.

I’m most excited about the cameras — well, one in particular. These are the first Samsung phones to sport a 123-degree “ultra-wide” camera, giving you a field of view that’s comparable to what you’d see with the naked eye and even wider than what you’ll get with many clip-on add-ons. That’s bound to add a huge punch to your travel photography.

The S10E offers that 16-megapixel ultra-wide shooter, in addition to a more traditional 12-megapixel wide-angle cam. The S10 and S10 Plus include both of those cameras as well, in addition to a 2x telephoto camera, also with a 12-megapixel resolution.

Additionally, Samsung’s added new software enhancements, including one in partnership with Instagram, make it easy to share to the platform directly from the native camera app. All three phones also offer special features to help users improve their shooting skills, ranging from a built-in level to composition tips. There’s also a Samsung-exclusive version of Adobe Premiere Rush CC, enabling easy in-phone video editing.

The S10 and Plus sport the same Snapdragon 855, plus at least 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, expandable to as much as 1.5TB in total (via MicroSD) with the S10 Plus. There’s a 3,400mAh battery on the S10 and a 4,100mAh batt on the Plus. New charging technology lets the devices get a power boost as quickly as 36% faster than their predecessors.

All three phones support wireless charging as well, and come along with USB-C connectivity and, yes, a built-in headphone jack. Software improvements enable to phone to determine when its owner is on the move — avoiding jumping between Wi-Fi hotspots when you’re driving through an urban area, for example — while Wi-Fi 6 support will vastly improve performance in crowded spaces, such as airports and sports arenas, as long as they support that tech.

But the star of the show for many was the Galaxy Fold — definitely the most intriguing new Samsung device, at least from an innovation perspective. It’s a combination smartphone-tablet, but with a starting price of $1,980, it’s also one of most expensive mobile devices ever made.

The Fold combines a 4.6-inch smartphone with a 7.3-inch tablet — simple unfold the device to jump from phone to slate mode. In addition to a seamless display design, the device sports special software to enable smooth transitions. With Google Maps, for example, if you begin your search with the device held vertically, you’ll get a far wider view the moment you open it up.

The Galaxy Fold sports the same rear-facing cameras that you’ll find on the other smartphone models, along with an octa-core processor, 12GB of RAM and 512GB of (non-expandable) integrated storage. Samsung added two separate batteries, due to the unique design, with a total capacity of 4,380mAh.

The Fold is expected to ship on April 26, while all three Galaxy S10 devices will be available for pre-order tomorrow, on February 21, and will ship beginning March 8.

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